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May 22, 2024

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Sumatran Tiger Cubs Now on Exhibit at Nashville Zoo

There are around 235 Sumatran tigers under human care globally with just under 70 cared for in AZA-accredited zoos in North America.

The three critically endangered Sumatran tiger cubs can now be seen in the Tiger Crossroads habitat at Nashville Zoo. Starting April 12, the three cubs (Bulan, Zara and Kirana) will be exploring their habitat daily from 9 a.m. until noon. 

The habitat space is a new area for the cubs, and they will gradually become more comfortable with it over the next couple of months. Zoo guests may periodically see zookeepers inside the exhibit making adjustments while the cubs are behind the scenes. Weather and animal care factors may prevent the cubs from being outside. After noon, Felix (dad) will be in the Tiger Crossroads habitat for guests to see. The cubs time outside may increase as they acclimate to their new surroundings. 

Sumatran tigers (Panthera tigris sondaica) are the only surviving tiger species native to the Sunda Islands in Indonesia. The expansion of palm oil and acacia plantations have decimated the species’ native range, fragmenting the population into smaller, isolated areas. Human conflict and poaching also contributes to the decline as people kill tigers to protect livestock and use the animal’s skin, teeth, bones and whiskers for profit. Nashville Zoo financially supports the Tiger Conservation Campaign which fights to save habitats, curb poaching, eliminate the trade of tiger parts and reduce human/tiger conflicts.

Nashville Zoo participates in the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure genetically diverse populations for Sumatran tigers under human care. Once the cubs reach maturity (around 2 years old), they will likely move to another AZA-accredited facility to meet their future mates and continue to help grow the population numbers for this species.

For more information on the tiger cubs, visit





About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.